The voice is an amazing instrument. It’s like a guitar. The larynx is the strings. Air, our breath, is the hitter. Our chest, throat and head are the body of the guitar, the resonator. We use our voice to produce wonderful sounds which entertain, engage, inspire and connect us to others.
We all have a signature sound, as unique as a fingerprint, but how do we use it for good? How do we ensure that what we want to say is being heard?
Well, yes, it is about clarity, projection and vocal variety but it’s also, about the tone, the story you want to tell and most importantly how you say what you say.
We are living in a time when there are voices all around us, but it feels as though we are being talked at rather than to. Statistics, data, daily briefings, instructions. Hands, Face, Space. Black Lives Matter. Four More Years. These are not conversations.
In the absence of loved ones and the ability to sit around a table and converse who would you choose to listen to?
The best orator’s, speech makers, speak with confidence because they know who they are, they are settled in themselves and they believe in what they are saying.
I have a couple of speakers I could listen to all day, Brene Brown and the late great Ken Robinson, both have done brilliant Ted Talks, and both have used their own stories to educate, entertain and motivate.
Another is given by voice coach, Caroline Godyer. She says that we breathe in thoughts and breath out words so, if you breath in love you breathe out loving words. If you breath in excitement you will breathe out excitement.
The Roman poet, Horace, said about public speaking ‘Whatever I feel, they feel.’
Every voice is unique and when we speak our truth with passion and purpose we are empowered.
Your voice is your greatest tool so find your voice.
The 5 Elements of Voice
Barbara McAfee gives a TedX talk called Bringing your Full Voice to Life in which she discusses the 5 elements of voice. Give them a go…
This voice is seated in your pelvis. So it’s deep, slow and heavy like Neanderthal man. Imagine walking around saying ‘Oh, no’ as a Neanderthal. You get the picture.
This is the exaggerated version, of course, but when you use this voice in certain circumstances it grounds you, gives you authority and commands respect.
This voice comes from the belly. Imagine a fire in your belly. It fills your body with energy.
Visualise Pavarotti and walk around singing ‘Lasagna’!
This voice is great for passion and personal power. Imagine Martin Luther King and his ‘I have a dream’ speech.
This voice sits at your heart. It is warm, flowing and comforting. It’s great for delivering bad news bad or an apology (that you mean!).
This is loud and cuts through and over other sounds. It is based in your head and around your sinus’s. It about amplification. Use it when you need to be heard over the crowd. Think the Wicked Witch in The wizard of Oz. ‘I’ll fix you, my pretty’ cackle cackle!!
This vice comes straight from the top of your head. Visualise a baby.
This voice is all about air. Soft, whispering. It’s the voice to inspire with ’ I have an idea’.
It can be mysterious or evoke another place and time so great for story telling – ‘Once upon a time…’
As Barbara says ‘No one voice works in ALL circumstances.’ Have fun trying out your 5 elements.
If you want to find out more about this and other vocal techniques then click here to see how we can work together.